Church Clarifies Aid to International Relief Organizations

One newspaper in the United States and two in Britain have recently published stories that report on aid being channeled to Islamic Relief Worldwide and that raise questions as to whether some of that aid could reach terrorist organizations.

The following information should clarify the procedures followed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — often referred to as "Mormons" — when working with various relief agencies around the world:

1. The Church has partnered with some 1,500 officially registered NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) and charitable agencies across the world. The Church works diligently to identify respected organizations with excellent track records.

2. The Church also uses the services of Charity Navigator, a highly respected, independent monitoring organization to help in its assessment of organizations that will receive aid.

3. The Church does not embroil itself in politics. It is interested only in delivering aid to the needy. In the Middle East, it has worked both with Islamic Relief Worldwide and with the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross.

4. Regarding Islamic Relief Worldwide, contacts made by the Church at various levels of the U.S. government have confirmed that the organization is not listed as a suspected terrorist organization and that there are no restrictions in dealing with it. Charity Navigator has awarded Islamic Relief Worldwide a four-star rating. The British government likewise continues to work officially with this organization.

5. All donations from the Church to Islamic Relief Worldwide have been in the form of relief items such as clothing, quilts, disposable diapers, infant formula, wheelchairs, washcloths, soap and first aid supplies. In each case, representatives of the Church accompanied the shipments and oversaw distribution. In Lebanon, the United Nations Relief and Work Agency is distributing the goods.

6. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Latter-day Saint Charities have a reputation for integrity and efficiency in their humanitarian efforts, and work only with those agencies that have earned a similar reputation over the years. Any organization that falls short is eliminated from its list of partner agencies.

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